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Re: [GTh] The background to saying 23

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  • Tom Saunders
    Sorry the History Channel did not show the James the Just presentation. Nobody is more disappointed than me, and I am sorry if you made arrangements to see
    Message 1 of 22 , Mar 6, 2003
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      Sorry the History Channel did not show the 'James the Just' presentation. Nobody is more disappointed than me, and I am sorry if you made arrangements to see it, only to be disappointed.

      John Moon suggests that 114 is a late addition and Pauline. Being that 114 is the last saying may be in fact the only late part about the addition of the saying. What I mean is that the parts of other texts that went into composing the GThom came together in an order of availability. It was re-ordered and it stopped at 114.

      Perhaps the addition of 114 is to qualify the thematic place of women and the issues of purity, according to Thomas. These issues are associated with Paul and the Apostolic Council, which decided that Gentiles did not have to adhere to Jewish laws and customs. Crossan points out in "Birth of Christianity" that the issues of the Pauline era where issues Jesus was known to have put down his opinion, in his lifetime.

      Another point that Crossan makes is that the GThom is too early to be Gnostic. It is likely that is was kept in very closed circles, then it was picked up later in Gnostic sects. I think it is likely that Paul never saw or knew about the GThom, and those who had Thomas had it a long time before any of them saw the Pauline letters. One reason is the fact that Jerusalem and the Jewish state, as such, was completely destroyed by 70 C.E.

      Long before that Phillip had been the first Apostle to leave the community, but others followed. Then, Peter left. 'John the Just' took over as head of the village. Although Acts is vague about some of the problems that may have occured in this first community, it could have been worse than any historical information has revealed. The point is there is no window of opportunity to obtain the known written elements of the GThom, except in the earliest of times.

      There is no reason to believe that a later redactor would focus on issues from the earliest of times. Secularists anytime past 70 C.E. posed lots bigger issues, mostly based upon the ideas surrounding virgin birth and ressurection. The 'list' gospel Thomas, like Q does not address these issures. If it did it would be Gnostic. As is, it is only Gnostic from the standpoint that you can use the information contained within the text for salvation and circumvent the collection plate.

      Saying 114 is thematically linked with 21, "male becomes female." Without this 'harmonic' link there would be no other 'doublet' to explain or bring up that particular theme. In terms of harmonics and thematic elements this kind of link seems very well done in the literary sense. This may be another cause for 114, but if it was added to the text as an afterthought, it was likely done by an original author.

      We can divide up the GThom into specific parts, aligned with types of scripture, like parables, beautifications, and parallels with Matthew, Mark, and Luke. We have to look at the notion of window of opportunity, to assemble these parts. This leaves the notion of saying order, other scriptural norms common to early Christian writing, and the primary motives for composing the text. That is a lot to explain.

      Many of you have mathematical notions of the order and composition of the GThom. Do they fit in with the ideal of the first century writer? What other scriptural commonalities does the GThom follow besides those I have mentioned? (Can I get a version with 666 lines? I love that idea.)

      One last thing. The primary motive for the GThom is salvation. I would call that its primary economy ("E" factor). The first heretic was Simon Magus who wanted to sell the Holy Spirit, or in fact wanted to sell salvation. If the primary economy of the GThom is to provide the means to salvation by understanding the words of Jesus, then the primary motive for its conception is related to this first heresey.

      If the "E" factor holds true to the primary motive, the GThom was written in reaction to this first Christian community rift, and the ones that shortly followed. All the parts for the GThom would have existed in the Apostle's village before Saul became Paul, and Christianity had spread. I give the Apostle's village a 5% literacy rate, or higher if there were Essenes converted. If there were Sicarii converted there may have been assassins. Perhaps Thomas was Sicarii or from that sect, which might account for the sword parable.

      Tom Saunders
      Platter Flats, OK

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    • BitsyCat1@aol.com
      In a message dated 03/06/2003 10:44:09AM, tom@cherokeetel.com writes:
      Message 2 of 22 , Mar 6, 2003
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        In a message dated 03/06/2003 10:44:09AM, tom@... writes:

        << John Moon suggests that 114 is a late addition and Pauline. Being that
        114 is the last saying may be in fact the only late part about the addition
        of the saying. What I mean is that the parts of other texts that went into
        composing the GThom came together in an order of availability. It was
        re-ordered and it stopped at 114. >>

        John observes

        Actually my point was that although counted as Gnostic and Late.( Possibly
        considered the latest) by consensus in the past.
        It actually shows up in a more polished form in Paul's Galatian Letter.
        ( Or so it would appear) and perhaps other parallels (better than this)
        could be made to other sayings.

        If we go by the Idea that the more Developed theologically and polished
        presentation is Later. Then Paul's adaptation and presentation is the
        Later Verse.It is Crisp and Comprehensive and connected to Israel's history.
        Whereas the same thought in 114 is a back and forth between individuals?
        More primitive.

        The point might be that there is no Guarantee that Saying 114 is either
        late
        or Gnostic If the same thought occurs in the earliest of Christian Writings?

        Therefore the difficulty in assigning dates and Strata based on Certain
        streams of thought? IS it Late is it Gnostic? IS it an early strata or a Late
        strata?

        I believe we may come back to what is the definition of Gnostic.AND did
        it pre exist the Yeshuan ministry?( Thomas as well as Paul) A common Wisdom
        Literature that may be proto Gnostic?
        If this Wisdom literature was in evidence during the time of Yeshau bar Yosef.
        , then it might change the way we order the strata. And how we classify them.


        Regards,

        John Moon
        Springfield, Tenn37172
      • Tom Saunders
        John Moon states: I believe we may come back to what is the definition of Gnostic.AND did it pre exist the Yeshuan ministry?( Thomas as well as Paul) A common
        Message 3 of 22 , Mar 6, 2003
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          John Moon states:

          I believe we may come back to what is the definition of Gnostic.AND did
          it pre exist the Yeshuan ministry?( Thomas as well as Paul) A common Wisdom
          Literature that may be proto Gnostic?

          Based on Crossan's idea that Q is apochalyptic and the GThom is ascetic, don't you think this means that Thomas was written as possibly the first sectarian text? I have no problem with Thomas being 'the' proto- Gnostic element that started the various movements.

          I think Marcion, Valentinus, and Tatian all had Thomas and understood the fact that it was the result of heretical acts in the first few years of the Apostle's village. This is where the stakes on salvation became the highest. Consider this from Acts: 5-

          9. But Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to try the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them that have buried thy husband are at the door, and they shall carry thee out.
          10. And she fell down immediately at his feet, and gave up the ghost: and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her by her husband.
          11. And great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all that heard these things.

          Between the first heresey with Simon Magus, and the fear caused by 'spirit killings' associated with Peter I see the straw that broke the camel's back on trying to pull the community together. Too many people would have drifted away from Peter, and I think Thomas is likely one of them. This may well stand as the motivation to point out James the Just as the one to follow. Here is another clue.....Acts 5-12.

          12. And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.

          They were not in accord on the porch. Then or now. Not Thomas' porch where the "Jew loves the fruit and hates the tree" or visa versa. On Solomon's porch they get circumcised and observe the rules of Solomon. I think this verse in Acts reveals Luke's preference for Jewish practices, and community. It also shows how diverse the GThom is in regard to these issues.

          I think Thomas had every reason to write the GThom at this point, so he could go his own way like Phillip.

          Tom Saunders
          Platter Flats, OK

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